Disclaimer: As far as I'm aware information relating to the DISC profile is available in the public domain. In case this post violates any copyright laws, please let me know and I'll be happy to take it off the blog.
I recently underwent a people management training at work where we learnt a number of managerial skills such as how to motivate your team members, conflict management, the right way of giving feedback (there is a right and a wrong way believe it or not. 'Hey, great job!' just doesn't cut it anymore) etc.. But the part I found the most fascinating - and useful - was the DISC profile.
DISC is the way of classifying people into 4 broad groups based on their style of working and the way they behave at the work place. So you have people who are high on 'Dominance', which contrary to perception is a positive quality to possess at work since people in this group are focussed on results. They are confident, fast-paced, decisive, action oriented and constantly challenge themselves as well as others. They don't like to get involved in the details and processes, and are always looking for the bigger picture. They have little patience for routine, mundane tasks and are champions at the art of delegating.
Then there are people who belong to the 'Influence' category. These people are highly sociable, gregarious and complete people's people. They are also the most persuasive of the lot and use their persuasion skills as the key tool for succeeding in their careers. They are motivated by social recognition and fear disapproval and the loss of influence and attention.
Then there are the 'Steady' ones. These people are strong team players whose style of working revolves around cooperation and collaboration. They tend to be good listeners and think of the greater good of the team before an individual. The downside of belonging to this group is that you may be mistaken for someone who lacks the confidence to act on your own and is slow to make decisions.
And finally there is the 'Conscientious' group. People belonging to this category are extremely methodical and detail-oriented. They are perfectionists who need to have every minute detail in place before they take a decision. They are motivated by quality and accuracy and are afraid of being wrong or taking wrong decisions because they missed out on details.
The D's and I's typically tend to be extroverts where as the S' and C's are mostly introverts. There are exceptions to this of course.
According to the DISC profile, most people tend to fall into two categories with one being the dominant trait and the other secondary. For instance, a person can be a Di which means they are predominantly a D but also possess many traits of an I.
At the same time, we can all stretch into the remaining two categories depending on the situation we are in or the people we are interacting with. For instance, there is a girl in my office who is an Sc at work - calm, quiet and diligent. But when she's playing a competitive sport she is a total D, leading her team, yelling out instructions and screaming at people when they mess up!
The way we arrived at our DISC profiles was very interesting too. Before the training we were asked to take an online test where we were presented with various work-related scenarios and had to choose the response that came closest to the way we would react/handle that situation.
On the day of the training we played a card game where we were each given 6 cards with words written on them - attributes/personality traits belonging to each of the D, I, S and C categories. We first had to discard 2 cards that contained words that least described us, and then we had to move around the room exchanging cards with other people in the group until we arrived at the 4 cards that described us the best.
Most people ended up with cards of 2 of the 4 DISC categories, which became our dominant and secondary styles (depending on the number of cards of each category we ended up with). We were then given the results of the online test we had taken and 90% of us had the same DISC profile that we arrived at ourselves!
Now, I generally don't like to categorize people as I don't believe slotting people into boxes works - human behaviour is way more complicated than that. But of all the other personality/work personality tests I've taken or read about, DISC seems to be the most accurate because it has 4 very clearly defined but broad groups that each allow a variety of behaviours, but also allow people of one style to exhibit certain traits of all the other styles all the time or depending on the situation.
As a manager, I found the DISC profile very useful. I've been working for almost 8 years now and in this time I have had to deal with all sorts of team members and bosses. I've had team members who have driven me up the wall by their slow pace of working, their refusal to take instructions from me, their manager, by always getting so caught up in details so that they completely miss the bigger picture etc.
At the same time I've had bosses who were extremely cautious about what they said, forever questioning & critiquing and very demanding. DISC has helped me realize why they were the way they were and how I could have improved my working relationship with them and handled them/the situation better.
Even now I have a very diverse group of people working with me and I know how to interact with them so we don't drive each other batty and get the optimum productivity. I also know which way I tend to sway (in terms of my style of working) and when I need to act in another way.
I've rambled on and on about this and I'm way past my target bed time for today :-)
Why don't you tell me what you think your DISC profile would be? You could choose one for the sake of simplicity, or choose a dominant and a secondary style. Game on!